VISION 20/20

An never-ending concern in horse racing is that the audience is aging and younger people are not widely attracted to the sport, other than on a party day at one of the Triple Crown races and other special occasions. The infield at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May (and two weeks later at Pimlico) is full of twenty somethings. Yet, for the most part, these are not horse racing fans who follow the sport year around.

One school of thought is that fantasy racing is a way to attract new fans, generate interest, and educate neophytes on how to handicap and wager. Fantasy sports leagues are wildly popular in the United States among kids of all ages (click here to see an example of a website that offers fantasy leagues on various sports). Some of the fantasy leagues charge entry fees and tender thousands of dollars in prizes to the winners.

Recently, I tuned into a radio sports talk show where the banter pertained to which NFL players were the best choices to stock virtual teams for the upcoming season. The discussion was as serious as if the objective were to stock a real NFL team.

The latest entry in fantasy horse racing is is Fantasy Capping. It was created by a group called Vision 20/20 with the stated purpose as follows:

“This project is devoted to attracting new fans to our sport by supplying a competitive atmosphere and generating an interest in the biggest graded stakes race each week.”

Readers interested in how the game is conducted and played can find this information by clicking on “Rules of the Game” at the Fantasy Capping website.

Games like Fantasy Capping can appeal to sports fans in general and to younger fans in particular because they are competitive exercises and are Internet related. It will most likely be slow going at first for Fantasy Capping, but the website has potential if the founders persevere and do not become discouraged. Certainly, fantasy games can be promoted on social media and do not require much, if any, paid advertising.

No one initiative is going to miraculously reverse horse racing’s slide as a spectator sport and wagering venture. It will take efforts on multiple fronts over a protracted period of time and Fantasy Capping is a welcome step in the right direction. What is also needed to build interest in horse racing are more fantasy horse racing websites that offer contests and significant prizes as an inducement to play.

After all is said and done, more is usually said than done. Not so with Fantasy Capping. The folks behind Vision 20/20 are to be commended. Racing needs a lot more can-do innovators that engage in action rather than bemoan the sport’s state of affairs or wring their hands.

Now, please excuse me, I have to go to the Fantasy Capping website to make my picks.

Click here to see an NBC-TV video and an accompanying article that explains the latest in smartphone apps for fantasy football, basketball, baseball, and hockey. The article is directly below the video. Just click on “Read more.”

Copyright © 2011 Horse Racing Business


  1. Hairy Reason says

    “””“This project is devoted to attracting new fans to our sport by supplying a competitive atmosphere…”””

    Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy don’t (the organizers) do this in real-time, with real racing, at real race tracks all over America??”

    Stop with the “Fantasy” when there is “reality” still racing five to seven days a week in most gambling states.

    This would entail horse racing actually doing something for its customers… for the first time in our collective lives.

    DO SOMETHING for these people !!!!!

    Why does this seem so ‘foreign’ a concept to all things horse racing???

  2. Editor’s response to previous comment by “Reason.”

    Fantasy Capping is based on a series of actual races.

  3. Hairy Reason says

    Yeah, and a lottery in Ireland is based on actual races there. So what.

    (speaking of lotteries: News broke the other day that gambling on lotteries is at record high levels around the USA – horse racing should/could be there too, in down economic times… but nobody in “horse racing business” exercises the common sense needed to bring that about)

    Why author a blog/website entitled “Horse Racing Business” while so completely ignoring reality?

    Horse racing business follows a model wherein the potential racegoer who STAYS HOME assures himself of huuuuuuuuuuuuge advantages (relating to wealth of data available, range of wagering opportunities and extreme convenience, etc.) over those who actually attend the races.

    This may be tolerable where it concerns the NBA or something, but remember the fans in the stands at a basketball game are NOT in direct competition with those watching from their armchairs at home.

    Horse racing business follows a model wherein the game has so greatly increased in complexity that could be new fans are intimidated and dissuaded from taking interest like never before. As I’ve said previously, in horse racing’s heyday the average first-time visitor off the street had a 1-in-10 chance of landing on the very same successful win wager made by the wealthiest, steadiest racegoer on track. Now, “horse racing business” gleefully champions a scenario in which that same novice racegoer has but a 1-in-4000 chance of landing randomly on that same insider’s winning pick-4 selection (again, using 8-horse fields).

    IF INDEED your inspiration is to relate in any serious way to “horse racing business” then it is imperative that you stop complaining about fabricated “problems” such as Parimutuel Wagering and instead start opening eyes to OBVIOUS SOLUTIONS to offset a present business model which could only be offered and endorsed by the brain-dead among us.

    Where it concerns “horse racing business”, this is an issue of far greater importance than is the charging of $50 for Kentucky Derby ticket requests. (though you have to admit, in that case, the person who actually visits the Derby is out nothing, while it is the person who stays home who is out $50) (so, in that way, this new policy at Churchill Downs may represent the nearest thing to “common sense” served up by a North American track operator in modern times)

    (clarity: NOT to suggest that there is any true ‘common sense’ to Churchill’s new policy, but I still maintain that it is perhaps the first time in decades that a track anywhere in North America attempted to give its own on-track patrons an edge over those who stayed home)

    (Based on that, naturally, you can bet that Churchill will heed your call and reverse the only recognizable step in that direction taken by a North American track in decades)

    The whole goal from this point forward needs to be the offsetting of the 30-year trends which have driving the North American public away from attending race tracks. These trends could have and should have been addressed upward of 20 years ago by anyone with any common sense. That they weren’t, should open your eyes with regard to just what you’re dealing with in the arena of “horse racing business”.